First in Series: Ethnic Preferences

Among other demographic variables, such as age, income or stage of life, a buyer’s race or ethnicity can play a significant role in how he/she evaluates the characteristics and features of a prospective home. A new study recently released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences, was designed to compare and contrast how housing preferences are affected or not –by the racial/ethnic background of the home buyer, after controlling for factors such as age and income. The analysis focused on four racial/ethnic groups of buyers:

  • White
  • African-American
  • Hispanic
  • Asian

So what are some of the differences/similarities among these groups in terms of housing preferences? After controlling for age, income and household type, survey findings show that Hispanics and African-Americans want more bedrooms. In fact, 51 percent of Hispanics and 49 percent of African-Americans report wanting to have at least four bedrooms in their home, compared to 44 percent among Asians and 36 percent among White buyers.

A majority of buyers in all four racial/ethnic groups, however, will be satisfied with up to 2 ½ baths; 73 percent of Asians, 65 percent of both White and Hispanic buyers and 61 percent of African-Americans. Similarly, most buyers in all four groups prefer high ceilings (9 ft. or more) in the first floor of their home; 75 percent of Asians, 68 percent of African-Americans, 67 percent of Hispanics and 64 percent of White buyers.

Placing the washer and dryer in the first floor of the home is a good bet, as buyers of all backgrounds strongly prefer this location for the laundry equipment: 76 percent of Whites, 51 percent of African-Americans, 50 percent of Hispanics and 46 percent of Asians. The basement and garage are the second and third choice for about 20 percent of both Hispanics and Asians, significantly more than the share of White buyers who want to do laundry in either of these locations.

The two-car garage is the most popular parking facility across all groups, preferred by more than 50 percent of White, African-American and Asian buyers as well as 47 percent of Hispanic buyers. A garage for three cars or more has far fewer fans, especially among minorities.

This blog post, from the Eye on Housing blog, is the first in a series on the findings of the NAHB’s What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences by Rose Quint. More graphs of the findings, information on the survey and information on the NAHB can be found here